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Big boss types

Studying our CEO has done little to clarify what type of management style she uses. She appears to be making her own rules and answers to no one but herself.

Men and women at the summit of any organization may be different in terms of age, personality, backgrounds and education, but they will always be one of two types: a) an entrepreneur/the solo climber, or b) a hired professional executive/the big wall climber. These mountaineers use various climbing techniques and routes to reach the top, and every one is different in his or her approach. Understanding their differences will greatly contribute to your ability to emulate or modify their movements for your own career ascent.

  • Soloist climbers trust their own judgment more than the staffs'. They are more willing to personally manage endeavors, assume risk, and place hopes on big returns. They are often concerned about what the staff will do to contribute directly to the bottom line. Conversely, big wall climbers are more interested in what the staff can do to run the business. They will rely more on planning committees and team activities.
  • The entrepreneur thinks and acts fast. He relies on himself more, often works in the trenches, gets his hand dirty and calculates risk against results. A professional executive has to be politically astute, carefully positioning herself. Risk is calculated against her contract. Power is very important.

The entrepreneur is an innovator that often has his own personal money on the line. Like Bill Gates, he is a creative think-tank that calculates ownership as part of his reward and uses more latitude to play by his own rules. On the opposite, some professional executives are well-financed overseers of others' creative process. They must possess exceptional communication and people skills to enable them to answer to both staff and clients, and to keep a publicly-traded business model running efficiently.
Understanding these patterns will help you identify how to work more effectively with the CEO, better determine your own natural inclinations, and consequently decide which style you prefer working with, thereby facilitating your job selection.

Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive Director, LeMoine & Associates

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